the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Joys of Christmas

so, i sit here the day after christmas, watching the flyers play chicago (they are losing, boo) and wondering where in the world we are going to put all of max's christmas gifts. and we left a couple at chad's parents' house! seriously, i'm guessing that the kid racked up at least $300 or $400 worth of presents (we spent about $70 on his christmas gifts, including the stuff that went in his stocking). which is a bit ridiculous when you consider that he's only 11 months old. and he has a birthday in a few weeks, when he will receive even more gifts. the in-laws went a bit overboard (did i expect any less?), and to my annoyance, gave him a couple of things that i have already bought but was saving for max's birthday.

but anyway, i think max had a good first christmas. unfortunately, chad and i are both sick and have been since about tuesday. i think i have strep throat, and i'll probably pay a visit to the doctor tomorrow. so that part of christmas sucked. otherwise, it was good. we did our christmas morning thing here at home and then visited the families. max drank his formula when he woke up, then he opened his stocking and his two wrapped gifts from us (activity table and spin & spill cement truck). he opened the truck first and was so busy playing with it while it was still in the box that he didn't want to open the other present. when he did, he ripped off one section of paper and tried to play with the activity table through the hole he'd made. after presents, he ate breakfast, then we loaded up and drove to my aunt's house, where we also did stockings and presents and then ate lunch. max got loads of stuff, but they were reasonable gifts (three or four books, a little people dump truck, a tickle me elmo, a top, a few other small toys, a stuffed animal, two jackets, and a big ride-on toy), and his gifts fit easily into a large bag. and easily into my car.

after my family thing, we went over to chad's parents' house (they live about 15 min. from my aunt), where there were five enormous boxes, a giant gift bag, four or five smaller packages, and a (i am NOT exaggerating) 3 foot tall stocking. all for max. seriously, that stocking was considerably larger than max is. chad's mom asked me after thanksgiving to make her a list of stuff we wanted them to buy for max. so i made a list with 10 things on it, ranging in price from $10-$30. i told her he didn't need everything on the list and that the list was for christmas and his birthday. she's bought every single toy on the list plus more. holy crap. i told her what chad and i were getting for max and the big gift that my mom got him. but she still ended up buying things that were very similar to stuff he already has. and she got the exact same giant not legos (but like legos) that i got him for his birthday (which i told her i was getting him). which really annoys me. they also ended up buying max two more walk-behind toys (one of which turns into an activity table, which WE ALREADY GOT HIM), even though they already bought him one of those a few months ago. and a ride on truck. and a giant piano rocker thing (sort of like a rocking horse, but with a big plastic piano instead of a horse's head). i did say that max likes the little toy pianos and xylophones that they have at daycare and that they should get him one of those. but i didn't mean one that he sits and rocks on. i meant a little $10 one that he holds on his lap. he's already got two big rock/ride-on toys, and he's getting a bounce & spin zebra for his birthday, all of which the in-laws knew about beforehand. why even bother with a list?

those were the only things that really annoyed me. everything else was fine. they got him two sets of pj's, a jack-in-the-box, a set of wooden blocks, a see & say, two stuffed animals (a giant one and a smaller one), a big fisher-price laugh and learn teddy that teaches letters, numbers, shapes, etc (i really wanted the puppy, which teaches body parts, but that's ok), some christmas dishes, and two christmas cups. i might have forgotten something. all of that stuff would have been more than enough. but they went completely overboard. we couldn't fit everything in the car. so we left the ride-on toy and the lego-like blocks and maybe one of the walk-behind toys there. he can play with them when he visits.

the in-laws' neighbors also gave max a gift, which was nice of them. they got him two books and some clothes to grow into.

chad and i both still feel like complete crap, so most of max's christmas gifts (and all of ours) are still in bags and boxes. i put max's activity table together and took the cement truck out of the box, so he's been playing with those today. and also the little fire truck and squishy frogs from his stocking. and of course, all of his old toys. maybe tomorrow i'll get some more stuff out for him. we also really need to pack up the baby swing and exersaucer. :-( he is still well below the weight limit for the swing, but he no longer has the patience for it, and it's just taking up space in the living room. he is too big for the exersaucer now, though. drat his being tall for his age. he's actually been too big for the exersaucer for a few weeks, as he's about 30.5" tall now (but struggling to reach 22 lbs), and the exersaucer is only recommended for babies under 30" tall. it makes me a little sad, packing up these things that have been max's entertainment for so long. but we really need the space for new stuff. and i also need to invest in a baby fence to keep max out of the kitchen when i'm cooking and chad isn't home to distract him. i used to just put him in the exersaucer, but i can't really do that anymore. i could just move the playpen from our bedroom to the living room, but having the playpen in our room is very handy when i need to get dressed or blow dry my hair after chad has already left for work. for those who haven't been to our house, our living room and kitchen are completely open to each other (no wall in between), so baby gates won't do any good. we need something to corral max.

so i need to do some more baby shopping soon. max needs more baby snacks anyway. his favorites are wagon wheels and zwieback toast, and we're out of both of those. it's ok, though. we've got banana puffs and cheerios. and crackers. ugh. i so do not feel like going out shopping.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Tree

finally got the tree up and decorated today. i planned to do it on monday, but i worked on dissertation stuff for a while that morning, made out my christmas cards, and boxed up gifts for damien and dylan. then monday afternoon i started feeling like crap and puking my guts out. and i am not one for vomiting. it does not make me feel less nauseous, and i hadn't vomited in almost five years before monday. it was a rough afternoon and night. then yesterday i pretty much hurt everywhere, so i took max to daycare, came back home, and slept pretty much all day. i feel better today, though. i think it was just a 24 hour bug. chad thinks it was something i ate sunday night at his work christmas party, but we pretty much ate the same thing, and he's fine.

but anyway, the tree. here's a shot of it, with max's stocking hung up beside it. we put it in the dining room this year (it's blocked off with baby gates) to keep it away from max's grabby little hands. and you know, to keep him from pulling that 7.5 foot monster down on top of himself. i'll try to get a picture of max with the tree soon, though i'm not sure how that will work, since he grabs everything in sight.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Busy Busy

so it appears that max is FINALLY over his illness. yay! he was sick for over three weeks, and it sucked. he'll get his last dose of antibiotic tonight. unfortunately, he's starting to get a little snotty again. hopefully this time it will just be a runny nose.

max has been making a little pig of himself for the last few days, about which i am glad. he's been gaining about a pound or so per month lately, but he only gained one single, solitary, pathetic little ounce this past month, despite growing half an inch in height. so he's got some catching up to do on the weight gain front. he was tall for his weight to begin with. my strategy for this is to give him high-calorie snacks like yogurt or cheese with fruit instead of just some cheerios and fruit/veggies and to keep feeding him at mealtimes until he stops opening his mouth for food, which is pretty much what i've always done, but now this means shoveling massive amounts of grub in there. for instance, friday at breakfast max ate a full serving of baby cereal with 1/4 cup applesauce (his usual breakfast). then a miniature banana. and some cheerios. and 4 bites of my (whole wheat) bagel. after consuming a whole cup of baby formula (he usually only drinks about 4 oz. = 1/2 cup in the morning). the night before that he ate two generous helpings of chicken and pasta with tomato basil sauce that had lots of onions and bell peppers in it. then last night at chad's work christmas party, max ate for about 2 hours straight. i took some baby food for him since i didn't know when dinner would be served, and he ate a jar of food then two crackers. he still seemed hungry a half hour later so i gave him the banana pudding i'd brought him for dessert. then chad and i were eating appetizers, and max got all excited, so i gave him the cheese out of the inside of a mozzarella stick (i didn't think the fried crusty outside would be good for him, but he likes cheese). then he ate a couple of bites of my potato soup before deciding he didn't like it. and he ate a ton of bread. i don't know how he held it all. i'm just glad that he's eating again. and he's been in a good mood.

the christmas tree is still not up, even though christmas is NEXT WEEK. shopping is done, presents are wrapped. i will get the tree up today. maybe.

i'm also working on the 2nd chapter of my dissertation, making more tables and figures. but not as many as for chapter 1, so that's a relief.

i've been debating with myself lately about what to do this christmas. chad and i usually spend the night at his parents' house christmas eve then go over early christmas morning to hang out with my family. but i would kind of like to spend christmas eve at home with max. which would make splitting time between two families on christmas day a little hectic, especially considering that we'd have to drive an hour and a half to go see said families. my family always makes a big production of christmas day, opening gifts early in the morning then christmas dinner mid-afternoon, followed by board games, etc. and general family bonding time. i'd feel bad if we couldn't be with my family early christmas morning, especially since my brother won't be there for the first time ever, since he couldn't afford to drive down from TN this year. plus, i'm sure my aunt really wants to do everything at her house. otherwise, i would prefer it if everyone came to our house, even if it meant my having to cook christmas dinner. it would be so much easier. alas, i don't know what to do. we'll probably end up doing the same thing we always have, even though i kind of want to start new traditions with max.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Tis the Season

for shopping and eating. i have been doing both. i hit the mall the other day to do some christmas shopping and use some store discount coupons i've been holding on to. it was quite a successful trip. max and i went shopping again yesterday morning to buy a few last christmas gifts, and i discovered today that one of the toys i bought for max doesn't work, so i'll have to return it and get another one. no time today (plus, it's raining like whoa over here), but maybe i can get around to it in the morning.

i've been buying a lot of shoes lately. i just can't stop myself. a girl's gotta have shoes. well, one pair was to go with the skirt i wore to kelly's wedding last month (hella cute skirt, but hella uncomfortable shoes - i looked nice, though), so that was a necessary purchase. and i bought a pair of flat, tan cowboy-ish boots when we were in pigeon forge because we went to an outlet mall, where i made chad buy new shoes, and the store had a buy one pair get another half off sale going. so they were only, like $15 (they were already on sale for $29.99, i forget the regular price). and i've worn them quite often, so those were definitely a good purchase. and last week i bought another 2 pair! it's shoe madness over here. i haven't worn either of those yet, but they are hella cute. one is a pair of gray ankle boots with pointy toes and skinny heels. the other i cannot wait to have an occasion to wear because they are SO CUTE. they're cement-colored patent leather rounded-toe pumps with dark brown stacked heels. and i LOVE them. they'll be so cute with skirts, but i'll probably just wear them with jeans or my sweet brown chinos most of the time.

that is the danger of the holiday season - all the sales make me buy WAY too much stuff for myself. i don't even need gifts from anyone else (that's not to say i won't accept gifts, of course ;-)).

the holiday season also makes me want to cook. yesterday i made pot roast in the slow cooker again. the first time i made this, it was excellent. and max ate it. so i made it again. he's been having eating issues ever since he first got sick three weeks ago (is he ever going to be well again?), so i'm pretty much feeding him whatever he will eat. he is at least maintaining his weight, though, even though he hasn't gained so much as an ounce in the last three weeks. when his throat was sore, max choked on table food but would eat at least a little baby food. now he's not choking on anything, but he still won't eat much. i think he's pretty much outgrown baby food, because he's refusing to eat it (except the fruit). now all he wants is bananas and cheerios. he ate the pot roast well last night, though. and the carrots, celery, and onions that i cooked with it. not the potatoes, though. i never met a kid who didn't like potatoes, but mine has issues with them. sometimes he'll eat a few bites of baked potato, and he used to eat french fries really well, but now he won't touch a french fry (that's probably a good thing), and he's never been a fan of mashed potatoes (i have no idea where he gets that, chad and i both love mashed potatoes). i made mac & cheese the other day, and max would have none of it. i think that was a sick thing, though. he usually loves mac & cheese. he ate red beans & rice at daycare monday. so his eating is improving, as is his health. now if he would just start sleeping again...

i realize that i never posted a picture of max eating his 1st thanksgiving dinner. he managed to eat a small piece of turkey, a small piece of ham, a little stuffing, and a few bites of beans despite being very sick (i think he was running a fever of about 102 that day). i was glad. i'd have hated for him to miss out on the good food at his first thanksgiving. plus, he hadn't eaten well all that week, so i was just glad he was eating something.

i can't wait for christmas. he's going to have so much fun ripping off the wrapping paper! and there will be more excellent food, of course!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Big Sigh of Relief

i FINALLY finished the first chapter of my dissertation yesterday, after many, many hours of constructing and editing tables and figures and attempting to condense as much data as possible. i still wound up with 18 tables and 12 figures in the first chapter alone. i'll have 4 chapters. thankfully, the first is the most data-intensive, so the next two shouldn't be nearly as daunting. the fourth is really sort of a mini-chapter on the project i did in maine a couple of summers ago, and it's pretty much done already, since i already had to write that up after we came back from maine.

in other news, max is STILL not over whatever he's had for the last couple of weeks. he ran a fever every single day for almost a week, and when the fever went away, i thought he was getting better. he started eating a little more (though he still mostly ate baby food), and he FINALLY started sleeping through the night again this week. but he's still gagging on nearly everything he puts in his mouth. except bananas. but he also pushes almost everything away when you try to get him to eat. yesterday he ate half a banana, half a container of yogurt, and 2 gerber graduates wagon wheels snacks (a full serving of those is 3 wheels). all day. i gave him the wagon wheels about half an hour before bed because he didn't touch his dinner. he wouldn't touch his lunch at daycare either, and he wouldn't even drink his juice, which he usually LOVES. he drank about half a cup of his formula. they've been having to give him baby food because he won't eat the hot lunches at daycare (he's been eating the cafeteria lunches at daycare for 5 or 6 weeks with no problem - until last week), but yesterday he wouldn't even eat baby food. max did an EXCELLENT job on his breakfast this morning, though, downing a full serving of rice & apple baby cereal and a jar of apples & pears. baby food is better than no food, even though we're trying to steer him toward table food. but he wouldn't eat lunch today. he took about 4 bites and drank some juice. i don't know what i'm gonna do with that kid.

i called the pediatrician yesterday, and they said he's probably got a tummy full of mucus from being so congested and stuff for two weeks, which makes him feel full. so he doesn't want to eat. and also probably makes everything taste bad. if he still isn't eating well this weekend, he'll have to go back and see the doc again. they said to push fluids to help clear the mucus out, so i've been trying to get max to drink as much as he will. i'm leaving a cup of water on the coffee table for him all the time, and he goes over and takes a few sips every now and then. i'm also giving him formula more often than usual, since he's not drinking as much of that in a sitting as he usually does. he's still only drinking about 16 oz. of formula a day. normal for him is 22-26 oz. a day. plus 4-6 oz. of diluted juice after lunch and a few ounces of water at breakfast and dinner.

i'm not sure if max's throat is still sore. he isn't crying all the time like he was last weekend, and he isn't trying to eat and then crying after a few bites (which is how he was acting when he first got sick). he's just not at all interested in eating. he's not crying much at all, really. he just pushes food away, and when he does take a bite of table food, or even baby snacks like puffs and Cheerios, he gags.

but anyway. other than not eating, max seems ok. he's still kind of snotty, i guess, and he wants to be held a lot more than usual. today he figured out what his stacking rings are for. his favorite thing to do with them has always been to topple the base over so all the rings fly off. then i put them back on. and he topples it over again. or he pulls the rings off one by one. but today he put two of them back on the base. well, he put one ring on, pulled it back off, and then put another ring on. i was so proud. then he got bored with it and started playing with a water bottle that still had a little water in it.

here's what max's christmas list SHOULD look like:
  • empty bottles
  • clothes hangers
  • old tv remotes
  • boxes
  • old magazines
  • dish towels
that's what he finds around the house and has a blast playing with. he spent a good half hour playing in the kitchen floor with a dish towel one day. he spun around in circles with it like a dog chasing its tail. he 'cleaned' the floor with it, crawling all over the place and wiping it around on the floor. he swung it around. and he thought it was the best thing ever. a dish towel.

instead here's a little taste of what max is getting for christmas
i've made a list for the MIL, and it includes some no-frills basic toys like classic wooden blocks and baby musical instruments (like a cute little baby xylophone). max does play with his decked out lights and sounds learning toys, but i think he spends more time with the really basic stuff, like the stacking rings and plastic blocks in different shapes. oh, and a hockey puck. can't forget the hockey puck.